Train punctuality to be measured accurate ‘to the minute’

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Delayed passengersImage copyright PA

Train passengers will soon be able to judge the punctuality of their journeys with much greater accuracy.

From Tuesday, the industry trade body, the Rail Delivery Group, is publishing average national punctuality statistics to the minute, not just to within five or 10 minutes of planned arrival times.

From next spring train operators will do the same for each of their own routes.

That will let passengers scrutinise the punctuality of individual journeys.

‘Most transparent’

The new data will also be published for the punctuality of trains stopping at intermediate stations, not just their final destinations, using GPS technology.

Paul Plummer, the chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said: “By adopting the most transparent measure in Europe, we want passengers to know that rail companies are putting an even greater focus on ensuring that trains are meeting the timetable, arriving to the minute and at stations along a journey.”

On its own, the new measure will not necessarily lead to trains arriving with greater punctuality.

But Mr Plummer said he hoped it would encourage operators to put greater emphasis on arriving to the minute.

“We are pushing ourselves to drive better punctuality because it will help to deliver a more reliable railway for the whole of Britain,” he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than a quarter of Govia Thameslink Railway services, owner of strike-hit Southern, were not on time last year

Currently trains are judged to be on time officially if they arrive within five or even 10 minutes of their scheduled arrival time.

Looking at the figures for 28 May to 24 June this year, this suggested that 92% or even 97% of trains were on time time.

But measuring arrivals to the minute, this figure fell sharply to just 65%, though 35% were in fact early.

The number of cancellations will also be measured and made available on the website My Train Journey.

Building trust

The changes were welcomed by the rail watchdog Transport Focus.

Its chief executive, Anthony Smith, said: “Passengers want a reliable, on-time train service. How that performance is measured and reported should, our research shows, closely mirror passengers real life experience otherwise trust will not be built up.”

“So, it is good to see the rail industry reporting on time performance at many more stations.”

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